Dean Goes focuses on success, diversity at Freeman

Alexandra Halfon, Staff Writer

Paulo Goes is driven by the search for knowledge. Originally from Brazil, this drive has taken him to the United States and institutions like the University of Rochester and the University of Connecticut. 

Now, Goes continues that search for knowledge as the new dean of the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.

Paulo Goes has been in the dean’s office at Freeman for over a semester now. (Rahima Olatinwo)

When the call came for him to consider the job, Goes knew it was right. 

“I looked at Tulane, and I saw all the ingredients that in my mind would be necessary for building a great business school in a great university,” he said. 

The son and grandson of civil engineers and a natural problem solver himself, Goes said this career path made sense for him. 

He obtained a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, but his hunger to learn remained unsatiated. 

“I’ve always been very curious, I’ve always wanted to learn more,” Goes said. 

That curiosity drove his move to America, with the goal of earning a Phd. 

Over five years at the University of Rochester, he earned a Phd. in business while specializing in technology and information systems. There, he also discovered a new passion. 

“When I first came to get my Phd., I thought, well, I love to go deep into some areas and get a better understanding of how things work, the way that they work,” Goes said. “But then I was exposed to teaching, to this environment where you have this almost instantaneous gratification.”

Goes said he fell in love with life as an academic — the research, the teaching and the intellectual stimulation of being a professor. 

“I think having those opportunities really makes you appreciate what you’re doing. You have that instant feedback that what you’re teaching is well received and is having some tangible impact,” he said. 

After earning his Phd., he taught at the University of Connecticut, first as an assistant professor and then as a chair. 

  

“It’s almost like you are paid because of your ideas,” he said. “You investigate something, some phenomenon … Then you write about it; people publish your paper, and then you go and teach. So you generate knowledge, and then you disseminate knowledge. The whole thing about knowledge creation and dissemination, that’s really very appealing.” 

But the last two years have taught us that things are precarious, Goes said. In a fast-changing world, Goes said it is important to have a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. 

“You need to be creating new ideas. You need to be testing them. You need to be working together with industry to figure things out,” he said. 

It’s a skill set Goes sharpened first at his tenure at the University of Connecticut, where he collaborated with General Electric to bring business students into close contact with real-world leaders, and then at the University of Arizona, where he was a professor emeritus of management information systems. 

Goes firmly maintains that students should be taught how to understand new ideas so they can understand how to apply their knowledge to create something, solve a problem and make an impact.

This could mean measures like Tulane’s tradition of taking students and sending them out into the field to get their hands onto problems and solving them. 

“Immediately looking at the impact or the effect of what you’re learning, how you’re applying it —  I think that’s the key for business education.”

To do that, experiential learning is necessary. 

“I think the guiding principle that we have to have in a school like Freeman … is being student centric, creating the best experience for our students. And that the experience is going to be part of it in the classroomit is the experiential learning … the engagement opportunities … the career opportunities.”

Goes also said he will focus on diversity and inclusion. 

“That’s where the creativity really … comes from. You have to have different opinions around the table.”

Goes started a diversity and inclusion program at the University of Arizona, and said he is proud to do it at Tulane too. 

Goes said the most important thing to focus on is student success. 

“It’s not only getting the elements of finance and accounting and marketing in your hands [but also] creating this well-rounded person who understands the human capabilities, how we communicate, how you solve problems, how you elevate the things around you.”

He said he enjoys being an administrator because he is able to see the impact he has on the lives of students. 

“I want [students to] say after they finish here …‘I had the best experience at the Freeman School,’” Goes said. 

And personally, Goes said he loves New Orleans, and his restless curiosity is leading him to discover new things everyday in the city. 

“I’m enjoying life,” he said. “I’m enjoying what I do, and I think this is a great place for me.”